MRR Comics & Art Issue Artist Q&A with Nathan Ward
What are the main things you’ve published, including comics, record covers, band shirts, anthologies, etc.?
I’ve contributed comix and ads to MRR many times in the past, I’ve done a few things for Night Birds and Zero Boys when they did that tour together, I’ve done countless flyers for punk shows around Cleveland, including the last Horriblefest, and most recently I had a comic published in Leah Wishnia’s amazing anthology, Happiness #4. I also self-published my first full comic, Fun-O-Planet, in the fall of 2014. Get online somewhere!
Who are some of your influences as far as art and comics?
My biggest influence in comics are obviously the late ’60s/early ’70s underground comix like Crumb, Shelton, and Robert Williams. I’m also really into Basil Wolverton stuff, early MAD magazine, EC comics stuff, and later alt comics shit like HATE by Peter Bagge, Eightball by Dan Clowes, and Dirty Plotte by Julie Doucet.
My favorite kind of music is like ’70s/early ’80s punk. I think the Ramones are the greatest, along with Devo, and I’m really into early Cleveland/Akron punk, like the Pagans, Electric Eels, Rocket from the Tombs, Dead Boys, Bizarros, etc. “Killed by Death” punk is my favorite, I guess. I really feel like that kind of music directly inspires my comix work, even if it’s just how I feel when I listen to it when I draw. I really like a lot of stuff Crypt Records puts out, and a lot of early Lookout! Records stuff. I love early Descendents more than most things, too. I don’t know… I listen to a lot of punk that comes out now, too, because I tour kind of a lot. I think Watery Love and Good Throb released the best records of last year.
How would you describe your style of drawings?
Overly detailed, gross, weird, dumb, cool.
What other punk projects are you involved with (bands, venues, record labels, etc.)?
I play in a ton of bands around Cleveland, probably the most active ones right now are Cruelster and Perverts Again. Cruelster is constantly releasing shit and we tour when we can, and Perverts Again have a LP coming out in a few months. I do door at Now That’s Class sometimes and I book shows there occasionally. My friends (who all play in my bands) and I have a label called Turbine Piss Records where we release all our own shit. I just put out a Cleveland-based music/comic zine called PUS that has some Electric Eels/X___X interviews in it. That’s available to buy on the internet somewhere.
What’s in the future for you as a cartoonist/artist?
The next issue of PUS comes out in sync with “Not” Horrible Fest in May, and the next issue of Fun-O-Planet will be out in the fall. I’m gonna keep making comics and releasing them myself until, hopefully, a publishing company that I feel has a similar ethos to mine, wants to release ’em for me. I have a multiple-story anthology-type comic coming out late summer that I think I’ll continue doing for a long ass time. I like actual comic books so I don’t know that I’ll ever do a graphic novel, but we’ll see. I’ll work on comix and a flyer/record cover here and there in between tours, releasing records, and work probably forever.